As I sit in my Lair, my feet in a bowl of hot water sniffling due to a retched cold that has come on since my recent trip to Wales. As the candle flames flicker to match my shivering the wind howls through and the rain lashing down I sit in heavy robes and blankets.
A cup of hot lemon and honey and my cigarette burning slowly in the ashtray sit on my ornate wooden table along with my parchment paper which sits staring at me as blankly as the expression on my skull. As I pull all items of cover tightly I lean over to my device that has chimed once again. I look at the screen and what pops up is my boss and a new notification for another review. As I pop open the app what looks back at me is the new split from Funeral Fullmoon and Nocturnal Prayer’s split “Disciples of the Moonlight Worship” as I look at the two acts attached to this split the decision to Wisk myself to either Chile or Canada comes into question. However, as I let out a deafening sneeze it reminds me that I’m not going anywhere. So I’ll be staying here and hoping this new split transports me to the areas of the world each band hails from. As I hit play something strange takes place..
Track one “The Gates Of Majestic Darkness” with a loud rumble of thunder and a crack of lightning and no sooner having said that do the frozen chilling tremolo riffs come slicing through the thick early 90’s atmosphere. Instead of being transported to the country of Chile in which Funeral Fullmoon hail from I am utterly immersed in early Norwegian/ Scandinavia sounding B.M. not that this is a bad thing what so ever, as it would appear that this act is steeped in that very sound. The early lo-fi recording sound the drums way back in the mix with the guitars in the mid section along with the bass and the vocals front and centre. The guttural growls and rasping venomous vocal range of “Magister Nihilfer Vendetta 218” remind me much of that of early Darkthrone early 93′ “Under A Funeral Moon” era. Possibly the best era of Darkthrone there was and what a way to pay homage to such an incredible era. It’s safe to say this album is easily onto the right track and as a reviewer I am one hundred percent here for it. Its been very easy for some acts to almost re-render this sound over and over however few have managed to capture it like Funeral Fullmoon have here on their opening track.
Track Two “Unholy Black Metal and Eternal Hate” keeps that 90’s era B.M. in full flow opening with a bit more punk sound to it. A D’beat sound from the drums keeps that punk element alive throughout, this matching the frantic choppy guitar riffs perfectly. The bass keeps the tempo all held together with its subtle low rumbling in the back ground. There are subtle possible synth elements that seem to subtly creep through here and there possibly opening up another influence of early Satyricon or even Emperor. It has to be said if you didn’t know this was a fresh release you would certainly have had this pegged at the early 90’s. The vocals are sharp and the riffs have a more grinding feel to them giving a great contrast in the verses. There are some cold tremolo sections that break through from the lead that deliver that icy chill down your spine just as much as the nostalgic tingle it gives on top.
Track Three “Enchanted Forest and Winter Melancholy” is a short track on here listed at only 3:42 sec, it literally wastes no time in delivering that rich and Unholy sound we all know and love. Discordant riffs and vocals open the track in an almost frantic opening. Which all comes to a more steady yet typical B.M. pace. With blast beats and stunningly sharp and icy riffs rip through your ears and the sound just tugs at my blackened heart strings. Honestly this is just littered with Nostalgia for a four track split after countless releases which I now have the hunger to delve way deeper on as hell this literally reminds me of when I listened to Darkthrone for the first time. Everything has been perfect on these three tracks so far. The tempo, the sound, the vocals everything is just literally “chef’s kiss” perfect.
Track Four “Lord Of The Storms” (Emperor Cover) well need I say more? Here it is in all its proven glory we have Funeral Fullmoon paying homage to their Nordic B.M. brothers Emperor. However as technology has well and truly improved greatly over the years the mix on here between the instruments is much clearer than that of Emperors efforts in early 92 but this cover certainly hasn’t lost its soul, no sir it’s all there in bag ready to go. Everything is just that little more crisp but the essence and the homage has been paid in dividends.
Honestly I am one hundred percent taken back by these four tracks and by Funeral Fullmoon themselves. Captured here has been four tracks cleverly and honestly played in the right vain. Yes you can harp on about the 90’s being the decade of the second and most dark wave possible in the B.M. genre but here we have a band doing exactly what was in the 90’s and doing it just as well or dare I say it better.
My skull has been blown by the ferocity and the nostalgia that these four tracks ooze from every pore they have captured the very essence of B.M. in a bottle and could easily sell this recipe to many. However I don’t think this level of talent and devotion can be. You are either born with it or your not. So to Funeral Fullmoon I salute and kneel at your blackened throne for a good job well done. Praise be with this act and may they reign harder than ever on any future release.
As I ready myself for Nocturnal Prayer’s offerings I wonder just what I am in for.
Track Five “Grand Celestial Summoning” opens on a much more cleaner and almost rock n roll vibe. The guitars are cleaner and the mix is definitely much more crisp. There isn’t that nostalgic nod here like before however that doesn’t diminish this bands talent what so ever. This track has some stunning riffs ranging in tempo from that great rock n roll rhythm with some purely great black metal riffs. The drums and bass work in a stunning harmony with one another and its great to here the contrast between the two acts on here. The vocals are vicious when they break through in the verses. However there are some great musical interludes that really break this track up and the musicianship really shines through on the midsection. As the riffs slow you can really hear the bass open up and almost get a solo of his own, the technique of the bassist is stunning, backed by an almost soft drumming you really hear the bass come alive with some great little solo feature. The track soon gathers pace and enters into a total crescendo of the instruments all climbing in scale one after another and it really heralds the musicianship of the band as a whole.
Track Six “Secrets Of Sorcery” starts with some ringing feedback and it soon escalates into a flurry of a riff. The drumming not too frantic has some great little licks added into his playing while the bass really holds this track and anchors it well. From the quickened opening to the second verse do we see a tempo change the vocals do just the same too from a sharp visceral sound to a lower growl on this slower section really changes the tone of this stunning rich track. Again this track ebbs and flows well with a great breakdown in-between you get an almost math core breakdown that you can really hear the technicality of the bassist, drummer and guitarist all working in succession together. This makes for certainly a different sound not one I would’ve thought of in a black metal act. However, this track climbs and climbs and as we get into the midsection the riffs just become saoringly stunning, I’m literally sat here gob smacked at the level of talent in musicianship on these tracks. I love how the track dips into the blackened recesses of black metal but manage to incorporate so much more musically.
Track Seven “My Kingdom of Darkness” (Satanic Warmaster Cover) which originally appeared on “Carelian Satanist Madness” is covered in all its glory here and not an ounce of effort has been left out. The vocals from “Murder” match those of Werwolf perfectly and again I’m just left absolutely blown away by both the dedication and effort put into these covers. They literally stack up to one another amazingly.
The mix here by N.P. is much clearer than that of S.W. but honestly you’d be hard pressed to spot the difference. You’d literally feel that this was just a more cleaned up and polished version of the song by S.W. everything is here and after hearing this you can now see the little trickles of influence S.W. has had on N.P. you can safely say not a direct influence however more of a peppering of the sound has been sprinkled through and made an amazing impact on this act. This cover much like the cover of Emperor by Funeral Fullmoon has been done in an amazing way. Some true homage paid to the acts that came before him. Everything on here from the guitars to the bass to the drums has been tightened and cleaned up on this mix to almost give a new injection into the track. It’s a very uplifting track and definitely gives much motivation in the way it climbs in scale with the riffs and the drumming not to mention the vocals. Everything is here for a great well rounded split.
As I sit back I roll a cigarette and take a slow inhale. The water my feet were warming in has now long since gone cold and between tracks I’ve been shivering to the point of no return. But somewhere a warmness has come over me. Inside where my little blackened heart beats a warmth has embraced my since trembling Limbs and no its not the blankets or my robes but more that sweet nostalgic tug that’s almost kickstarted my slow beating heart. I know sometimes it can be hard to get excited about some releases but I can hands down say be excited for this because it’s got everything you need to make for an exciting and yet still nostalgic release. Everything that is captured on here is what is missing from some newer B.M. acts. Yes it is OK to reinvent the wheel but when it comes to sheer dedication to your craft and taking inspiration from the acts you look up too then this is it. This is B.M. done right and to the highest order. As I extinguish my cigarette and my candles and the darkness slowly creeps in, a wry smile can be seen on my skull. Something I feel I have lost, yet have almost managed to retain with the sound of two great acts.
What a Split and one I will be purchasing. Hails to both amazing acts on here for a truly dedicated and well rounded split.
Disciples of the Moonlight Worship will be released in November via Inferna Profundus Records